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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

‘There’s nothing like a Philly guard’

The Hawk News
First-year guard Xzayvier Brown attempts a jump shot against the George Washington defense, Feb. 21. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK

The transition from high school to college is not easy for anyone, especially for student-athletes who have the added component of now playing at a higher level. 

But men’s basketball first-year guard Xzayvier Brown handled it with confidence, exceeding “every expectation that most people would have had except his own,” said head coach Billy Lange.

“A lot of the credit to the success that he had individually this season is that he’s got an unwavering belief in his game and his work ethic, which is outstanding, and who he is as a person,” Lange said. “Everything that you see on the court is really reflective of his character.”

A three-time Atlantic 10 (A-10) rookie of the week and A-10 Rookie of the Year, Brown made an immediate impact on the team, leading the team in steals (62) while also being third in the A-10 in steals per game (1.8). 

Second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game and third on the team in assists, Brown was also named a finalist for the Kyle Macy National Freshman of the Year Award, an award presented annually to the top first-year student in Division I college basketball. 

“It’s definitely rewarding knowing people are acknowledging [my season] and [it] feels deserving because I feel like I do what I’m supposed to,” Brown said. “It wouldn’t be possible to get recognized without my coaches and teammates who also gave me confidence to go out there and just perform well.” 

Brown, a Philadelphia native and a graduate of Roman Catholic High School, helped lead his team to the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) Championship at Penn’s Palestra his senior year. Playing in a top local conference in high school and also getting experience from non-conference games is something Brown said helped prepare him for his transition to playing at the collegiate level. 

“You get to go different places in different states and go against different teams with different players that you will most likely see in college,” Brown said. “And then, just having good talent on my team to force me to bring it every day in practice, prepared me for college.”

This experience, along with Brown’s knowledge of the Big 5 growing up are two things that have helped him in bigger moments.

“There’s nothing like a Philly guard, the moxie, the confidence, the unfazed by big moments. A lot of that has to do with the Palestra,” Lange said. “Playing in that PCL championship, semi-finals is a big deal, and I think it’s something that creates confidence in young players. And that stuff carried over. You would see that he was unfazed. It doesn’t mean you play perfectly, but he was unafraid of those moments.”

One of the ways Brown found himself staying unphased in these big moments as the season progressed was from the work he put in to stay healthy and take care of his body over the course of a season. 

“When you go from high school to college, it’s a big jump, but when you go from high school to college, and you’re playing over 30 minutes at the point guard position, that’s a massive leap,” Lange said. “Most people die down, and I thought he got better and stronger as the season went on.”

Brown’s perseverance came from learning consistency, something he picked up on from watching fifth-year Cam Brown who helped him realize that during a college season, your body will never be 100%, but you have to be consistent regardless. 

“It’s more on X[zayvier] that he was willing to put the time in and willing to learn. [A] lot of people aren’t all the time,” Cam Brown said. “It just shows how advanced he was for his age and college basketball and how ready was to play.” 

Cam Brown and Lange both said they saw Brown take on a more vocal role as the season progressed, marking just one of the ways he improved that other people might not have noticed. 

“Everything that you see, it pales in comparison to the things that you don’t see with X[zayvier], like the text messages that he will send me, the way he talks glowingly about his teammates when I communicate with him, the confidence he has in his teammates, his spirit, his faith, who he is as a person, the way he is as a brother to his little sisters,” Lange said.  “These are the things that make him a great player. They’re not outside of that. He’s a good player because of who he is as a person. His character is terrific.”

While Lange described him as a player who “wants to be coached” and Cam Brown wished for 2-3 more years playing alongside his teammate who he called “a stud,” they both agreed on one thing: Brown is always looking to improve. 

“This is a great season to learn from, and gain knowledge and experience from,” Brown said. “Try to use it to help us have an even better year next year.”

First-year guard Xzayvier Brown makes a pass against the George Washington defense, Feb. 21. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK
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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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